The New Orleans Hornets, R.I.P., are the latest casualties of the Nuggets. As such, I reached out to Niall Doherty of Hornets 24-7 for some advice to help the Mavs do what the Hornets could not. Here are the words of wisdom that Niall has printed on the Hornets’ tombstone:
- Don’t let Chauncey pull up for the long J in transition. That’s his money shot. Force him to take it inside. Even if that results in a layup for him or a dunk for someone else, you just saved yourself a point.
- Let Carmelo shoot. He can knock down the jumper but he’s much more dangerous when he’s attacking the basket. Peja Stojakovic did a good job baiting him into taking the jumper in Games 1-3, but Melo decided to get to the rim a lot more after that and his effectiveness soared.
- Heckle J.R. Smith. Tell him he can’t shoot. Watch him ignore his teammates and launch numerous bad shots. Be glad he doesn’t play for your team, even if he hits a lot of them.
- Dallas will have to match the energy of guys like Chris Andersen, Kenyon Martin and Dahntay Jones. That trio really gets after it with defense and rebounding, igniting the rest of the team. You’ll come to hate Jones as the series goes on, while wishing he was on your team.
- Run at every opportunity. The Hornets really suffered trying to execute in the half court. When they pushed the ball up the court and attacked Denver early in the shot clock, they fared much better.
- Spread the floor, move the ball and find guys who can hit shots. The Nuggets will aggressively trap and double team the likes of Nowitzki, Terry and Howard. The Mavs will need good quick passing and guys moving off the ball. Make it tough for the defense to rotate and cover, and it’s essential that some role players step up and make shots. The Hornets didn’t have that and it killed them.
- When the Nuggets push and shove, push and shove back. Don’t let them be the aggressor. The Mavs might do well to have someone like Dampier hit hard early in the series, even if it costs him a game or two.